Pool lane swimming etiquette

Lane swimming is bathed in unwritten rules that help to regulate lane swimmers and reduce “lane rage’ – yes, it’s a real thing!

There’s no need to be intimidated though, just follow this simple guide to lane swimming etiquette.

Choose the right lane

Lanes are usually labelled for speed – slow/medium/fast. It’s important you observe the speed of each lane before choosing the one that best matches your speed. If there is more than one lane at your speed, choose the one with the least amount of people swimming in it.

Swim to the left

Always swim to the left of the black line. Swim as close as you can to the lane rope to avoid colliding into oncoming swimmers. Turn on the centre of the wall at each end and move to the left as soon as possible.

Swim freestyle

Unless otherwise signposted, you should only swim freestyle. Short drills that involve other strokes are ok, but these should be kept to a minimum and you should always be mindful of where other swimmers are while doing these.

End of lane

During rest periods at the end of the lane, always stand in the left-hand corner to allow other swimmers to turn on the centre of the wall. Never stop in the middle of a length, or hang off the lane rope.

Merge like a zip

Familiarize yourself with the speed of other swimmers in your lane. Avoid pushing off the wall just in front of a faster swimmer.

Let faster swimmers through

If a faster swimmer catches you during a length they will tap your foot, in this case, you should stop briefly at the next end and let them pass.

Passing slower swimmers

If you catch a slower swimmer during a length, wait until the end of the length and turn ahead of the swimmer while they are at the wall.

See also: Tips to enhance your pool swimming experience

First published in April 2013

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